Israel closes West Bank, Gaza borders for Jewish New Year

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israeli authorities will implement a closure on the occupied West Bank and besieged Gaza Strip beginning Tuesday night for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year on Wednesday.

Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri said that a general closure would be imposed on the occupied West Bank and Gaza’s crossings starting midnight Tuesday night, to reopen midnight Saturday night.
She said that only “humanitarian, medical, and exceptionally urgent cases” would only be allowed to cross during the closure.
COGAT, the Israeli defense ministry agency responsible for civil affairs in the occupied Palestinian territory, confirmed the closures and announced additional restrictions on Palestinian movement in the coming weeks.
The Erez crossing between the besieged Gaza Strip and Israel will be closed periodically starting Sept. 20-23, as well as Sep. 29-30, Oct. 5-7, and Oct. 12-14, COGAT said. It remained unclear if all the dates would also apply to West Bank border crossings with Israel.
Al-Samri had also announced that heightened security measures would be imposed in occupied East Jerusalem.
“Israeli police, border guards, and volunteers will be heavily deployed across Jerusalem City and its surroundings, inside the Old City and towns, where both Palestinians and Israelis live, on Rosh Hashanah eve,” she wrote in an Arabic-language statement.
She said that Israeli forces will also be deployed at “holy sites and tension points,” as police operations around Jerusalem’s Old City would be “enhanced and increased Sept. 20-23.
“Roads leading to the Old City from Jaffa Gate would be closed to private vehicles on Jewish New Year’s Eve, except for residents of the area,” she added.
Severe restrictions on movement for Palestinians are typically implemented by Israeli authorities during Jewish holidays for alleged security purposes, accompanied by increased tensions around the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City.
The Palestinian Authority’s Wafa news agency reported Tuesday that Israeli settler groups have called on their members to step up provocative visits inside the compound during the upcoming holidays.
Israel’s imposition of closures on the Palestinian territory has severely affected the livelihoods of Palestinians who depend on entering Israel, or its illegal settlements, for employment opportunities, medical care, other reasons. Such policies have been strongly criticized by rights groups for amounting to collective punishment.

(Source / 19.09.2017)

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Video of the Week New Clashes Erupt Between Israeli Security Forces, Muslim Worshippers

Temple Mount temporarily closed to Jewish visitors after clashes with police




The Temple Mount was temporarily closed to Jewish visitors on Wednesday at the order of Jerusalem District Commander Yoram Halevy after Jews broke visitation rules at the holy site, police said. The Jewish visitors were expelled from the compound for bringing sacred books to the Mount and trying to pray there. After one of the individuals was cautioned, another took out a holy book, and the group was expelled. Meanwhile, renewed clashes erupted between protesters and Israeli security forces near the Lion's Gate in the Old City, where police used stun grenades against the demonstrators. A regular dynamic has developed involving clashes between Palestinians and Israel Police over the past several days near the Lion's Gate. Dozens of Palestinians are present at the site on a regular basis, urging devotion to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and condemning Israel. During Muslim prayer times, particularly the midday and nighttime prayers, hundreds and sometimes even thousands have been gathering there.

There have been outbreaks of violence during these periods, including stone-throwing or physical confrontations with the police. In most of these incidents, the police have been using stun grenades and sponge-tipped bullets to disperse the crowds. In a number of cases, journalists in the area have also suffered violence at the hands of the police. On Tuesday, Hassan Shaalan, a reporter for the Ynet news website, was struck by a policeman even after he identified himself as a member of the press. A group of Jerusalem-based journalists released a statement of condemnation over the incident and called on the police to permit reporters to do their jobs. The Jerusalem Police responded: "This involved an incident that took place in the course of violent disturbances of the peace that occurred in Jerusalem while the police were acting to remove the demonstrators from the street after some of them refused to vacate. The forces working on the scene are under constant threat to their lives. http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.802141

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